A visit to a hairdresser in Duncan on Dec. 13 turned into a memorable day for Beverly Dorma, and had students evacuating their school bus — for a kitten.
Dorma said when she came out of her hairdresser’s shop on Queen Street, she spotted a frightened young kitten, about four months old, climbing up the wheel of her truck and then into the vehicle’s undercarriage.
She, along with the help of some people passing by, managed to get a brief hold of the kitten before it broke loose and ran across the road to a school bus that was full of students.
The kitten quickly climbed the wheel on the bus as well and nestled itself deep in the undercarriage of the vehicle.
Dorma said efforts to get the kitten from underneath the bus were not successful, so all the students on the bus were transferred to another bus, and staff from the Cowichan Valley School District drove the bus very slowly back to the depot to be placed up on a hoist in a fresh effort to extract the kitten.
“It became a real community effort and people from Shaw Cable, whose building is on the street, came out and put pylons around the bus to divert traffic while efforts were made to get the cat out from under the bus,” she said.
“When the decision was made to take the bus back to the depot, I followed closely behind in my vehicle with the emergency lights flashing just in case the kitten decided to drop down onto the road.”
Mike Russell, the school district’s communications director, said after the bus engine cooled down, mechanic Ted Meyer worked to rescue the kitten from just above the vehicle’s axle for about an hour before they finally managed to get the kitten, now affectionately called Axle, out of its tight hiding place.
He said Axle wasn’t the least bit happy about the situation but, other than being covered in grease and oil, was physically unharmed.
Russell said some of the rescuers got a few scratches during the rescue, but will recover.
“Axle is a bit shy and scared right now, but the kitten has food, water, and a warm place to recover,” he said.
“We’re connecting with agencies in the area in hopes of reuniting the cat with the rightful owners.”